Replacement Cost by Insurance Company for Totaled Vehicle

joeciajoecia Member Posts: 2
I totaled my new 2004 Mustang and the insurance company wants to pay me for the vehicle what it's worth BUT DOES NOT INCLUDE SALES TAX, LICENSE, DOC FEE, ETC.
Shouldn't they to replace the vehicle -- that's what it cost to replace it!!! I already paid the sales tax once, SHOULD I HAVE TO PAY IT TWICE ???
Thanks. URGENT
This is how they figured the total value:
17646.00 2004 Mustang
3500.00 rebates
1429.33 sales tax
13.75 title fee
500.00 Deductible
15089.09 ins co retains salvage value
4438.57 salvage value
10650.61 owner retains salvage value




  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Administrator Posts: 11,134
    You might also check in our popular discussion called Questions About Auto Insurance & Accidents. Some of our members who have expertise in this area may be able to provide more info, though it looks like mr_shiftright has given you as much as possible without seeing your policy.

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  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    This is my *corrected* response to your question (too many typos and I also did some further checking for you).
    It looks like they ARE giving you sales tax, license fees (remainder of unused portion of your license fees that is) and doc fees.

    You need to take out your insurance policy and read it to answer this question as it pertains in your state laws. In California they have to give you the sales tax plus the Actual Cash Value (ACV) which is not the same as "replacement cost". ACV takes into account everything associated with depreciation of the vehicle once it leaves the showroom floor. So you aren't going to get the price of a brand new Mustang + sales tax, but rather a slightly used Mustang + sales tax, etc.

    As for the actual numbers, it's kind of hard for a consumer to know what a good settlement is because most price guides, like the Blue Book, don't give values for 2004 "used" cars. So you have to figure something like the price of your car new versus how much the insurance company has knocked you for depreciation. So what I mean is that the depreciation amount has to seem reasonable.

    If you want to dispute the settlement numbers, you can always hire your own independent appraiser and then go into arbitration. This will cost you about another $500 to "fight" the insurance company but there is no guarantee that the referee in the arbitration will give you what you want. He may 'split the difference" between what you want and what the insurance company is offering, and you have to decide beforehand if this is likely to be more than the extra $500 you spent to get to arbitration in the first place.

    So read your policy and chat with an appraiser, would be my advice. Also you can contact your State Insurance Board for rules and regulations in your State.

    Good luck with this

  • swschradswschrad Member Posts: 2,171
    is that justice would require you to pay all the appropriate taxes, fees, etc. on the replacement car. sorry. just because I drop a camcorder in the john doesn't mean the state takes $38 out of a cop's salary because I can't put my hand through an obvious grip, and flip the strap over my neck.

    no, I paid the sales tax on the item because I bought it, and that's the law. if I have to buy another one tomorrow, there's no exemption for klutzes and fools.

    sorry to say that if somebody T-bones you as you turn on the green light to get to your own driveway 500 feet away with a new car, and you buy another car, you are still liable.

    in a really perfect world, the state's insurance law would mandate that the person at fault pay the associated processing fees, like the guy who loses a lawsuit has to pay court costs plus (usually) legal fees for both sides.

    but somehow, that seems to not transfer to indemnified torts, as they would say down around the courthouse. I wouldn't get 'em either from my insurance outfit. they will pay the sales tax on repairs to my car, however.
  • njrobertnjrobert Member Posts: 2
    Hi - I hope I am posting in the correct place.

    My 1997 Ford Taurus LX sedan was totaled while it was parked. I'm trying to do some research and see what the insurance company is going to pay me - I'm concerned because I still have car payments left to make - not to mention need down payment for another car.

    The adjuster called and said that the car needs to be taken to another location to have a value set and they use "ADP" to determine the market value.

    The car has many options - power moon roof About 14K miles less than the norm (has 68K not 84K). Leather/power seat, cd changer, keyless entry, new tires (4 months old now) etc.

    Any ideas? suggestions? Tips on what to do or say If I don't like their quote? (BTW other drive is obviously at fault and did have insurance)

    Thank you in advance very much for any input.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You could appraise it here at Edmunds for starters. Just hit the "used car" button up top of this page.

    Also you can go to and check out similar cars for sale. The insurance companies use a computerized appraiser and THEY MAKE MISTAKES on miles, trim level, etc., so make sure you double check that.

    As for your loan, you can't always expect the FMV (Fair Market Value) to be enough to pay off your loan, but if you've had the loan for a few years you may have enough equity in the car by now. But since you were also paying interest, it might turn out that you'll get less than the payoff for the car.

    Be prepared to fight if you don't like the payoff, but do your homework so that you can show them comparables for sale and price guides.

    Numbers on paper work better than just words on the telephone.

    Sometimes the insurance company will cough up more if you are persistent and diligent.

    If you can't get anywhere with them, hire your own appraiser and submit that as proof. If that doesn't work, you may have to try mediation with a referee. If that doesn't work, you may need a lawyer.
  • kank2kank2 Member Posts: 2
    My car, 2001 Toyota Camry ce, 59k on it, is totaled by other driver.
    My question are:
    1. How much is it cost to a replacement?
    2. How and what do I do if I don't accept insurance co's unfair offer?

    Thank you very much for any suggestion.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    See response #8 above Kank!

  • twynkietwynkie Member Posts: 3

    I had an accident three days ago, a woman in an SUV made an illegal left turn in front of me and I crashed my '93 Acura Integra straight into her passenger door. At first I thought the car might be drivable but, the hood, front bumper, lights etc are severely damaged and bent and the car overheats immediately when turned on then makes an awful grinding noise for about twenty minutes after the car is COMPLETELY shut off. The heater and a/c no longer work, the list goes on and on. This car is paid for and I only have liability coverage. I believe I was not at fault for the accident, and her insurance should cover my car which they will no doubt total out. I am freaking out now though because at the time we didn't have the police come out, I think she knew it was her fault and she didn't want a ticket for failure to yield right of way, and I had to pick up my little sister. So now is it up to the insurance companies to decide who's at fault? How does this work? I am completely broke and if her insurance doesn't cover me I'm in deep trouble because I can't afford to get another car. Your help and advice on what I need to look out for and any steps I can take to help my situation are DEEPLY appreciated.

    Here is how the wreck happened, I'm curious to hear who you think is at fault...
    This happened on a four lane street, I was driving northbound in the right hand lane, about 700 feet from the next major intersection which had a red light. The northbound left lane next to me had a line of about 20 to 30 cars not moving, waiting for the left turn light to turn green but my lane was empty all the way to the light. I proceeded at the posted speed limit, perhaps 5 over IF THAT toward the light to make my right hand turn, when southbound SUV appeared in a space between two of the stopped vehicles in teh left lane, and proceeded to turn left in front of me out of nowhere. The SUV did not brake when entering my lane nor did she look to see if my lane was clear to cross, and when she did finally see me she made no attempt to stop but instead attempted to complete her left hand turn and pulled her vehicle out blocking my lane completely from the front, and with the line of cars in the left hand lane I had no escape route so I tapped my brakes and prayed for the best. My front end hit her vehicle on the front passenger side door.

    Let me know who is at fault and what I can do to get my car totalled faster so I can get something else to drive to school. PLEASE HELP ME!!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well we can't possibly answer the legal question of fault, all we can do is advise you perhaps on how to "work" a claim once fault is established.

    If she doesnt admit to fault and you have no witnesses or police report, you may have to resort to some legal means (small claims court?) to plead your case and hope for the best.
  • twynkietwynkie Member Posts: 3
    Thanks for your reply...I know you can't possibly tell me who's at fault legally, I am more interested in hearing people's personal opinions based on the events that occured, since it is now my word against hers basically and I'm wondering how an outside eye would view the situation. Now when it comes to fault...perhaps this is only in Texas, but I was under the impression that a failure to yield right of way is ALWAYS at fault in an accident. I was in an accident a few years back where I was the one who failed to yield r.o.w., and I was sued by the girl who hit me for a substantial amount of money for 'injuries' (THAT was a joke...) and her car. After almost a year of searching for a way not to pay her pain and suffering, my insurance finally caved and gave her like $10,000. AND THIS GIRL WAS SPEEDING, DANGEROUSLY! What I heard from my insurance's lawyers, the judges, and my own lawyer is a failure to yield r.o.w. means you're at fault, no questions asked. Is that wrong, did I misunderstand that? I'm not shady enough to go after fake injury money, I just need what I deserve which is my car or money to replace it. I'm afraid it's not going to be as simple as calling insurance and getting a check...please, ANY ADVICE on what I can tell them, things I can do to speed up the process, ANYTHING to turn this in my favor...I need all the help I can get!

    Thanks for listening...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Your best approach rests on YOU believing that you were not at fault. Without witnesses, it all rests on YOU being convincing to her insurance company or to the referee or judge hearing the small claims case.

    You should make up a very detailed diagram, showing compass direction, line of cars, stop signs or traffic lights and whether they were red or green, and then of course HER path and YOUR path. You could even take photos of the intersection and include them, with "X" marking the spot.

    This is all you can do, to give your version of what happened.

    Next time, get a witness if you can and call the police. It sounds like you *may* have even violated the law by not filing a police report (state laws vary, in my state if damage is $500 you must file a police report---I think that's the rule anyway, something like that).

    Without witnesses you are definitely between a rock and a hard place on this one.
  • twynkietwynkie Member Posts: 3
    In Texas, you are not required to report an accident to the police if both parties agree to exchange insurance information on their own. It's only illegal to leave the scene of the accident if you drive away without giving your info to the other party OR if the other party says they want a police report and you refuse to stay.

    We do have a witness, but I don't have a clue who's fault he's going to say it lawyer friend is going to contact him for me and find out. Thanks for the advice, I never thought about going back there but that intersection is always backed up in that one lane during rush hour and cars are always cutting through the stopped cars to get into the Wal Mart...some well taken pictures of other cars doing what she did would prove my point.

    Thanks for your help, I'll let you know what ends up happening...
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well good luck and sorry for your misfortune. I hope justice is served.
  • happydriverhappydriver Member Posts: 10
    My Lexus LX 470 - still under warranty - just burned, with all our possessions and Xmas presents inside. The car died on the highway and there was a fire under the engine, that spread and engulfed the car.

    There was no apparent cause. The car just died! I want to hold Lexus responsible for the contents of the car which my auto insurance (AAA) doesn't cover. I have no homeowners to cover contents either.

    How should I proceed?

    THank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You need legal advice on that one. I'm a bit surprised AAA doesn't cover you however. But by all means consult expert legal advice. This is too complex an issue for random suggestions I think.



  • bh458bh458 Member Posts: 1

    Just several days ago, my lovely 96 Integra GS-R was stolen. I do have comprehensive coverage. Just wondering how much I am able to get back from my insurance company. And if it offers me too little, what could I do?

    My car info:
    96 Integra GS-R, Perfect condition, Multi CD Disc, 100,000 miles.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    if you are offered too little, and you dispute the settlement, I'll bet your insurance policy requires you to go to arbitration. You MIGHT be able to avoid this if your insurance company tells you they will review an appraisal from your own appraiser. This may cost you about $150. If the insurance company doesn't like your appraiser's appraisal, then you go to arbitration which will cost you about another $300 or so. Generally, unless the arbitrator reallyl has it in for you, you'll get back a settlement that will usually cover the costs to get to the arbitration in the first place, but perhaps no more than this.

    If you are disputing the settlement, you need evidence to show why it's not a good settlement. This will require you to look for "comparables" which mean comparable in miles and condition and equipment to your car. Also, you can look at the Kelley Blue Book at your public library, but be sure to make all deductions for miles, condition, etc. The book tells you how to do this.

    good luck,

  • kartooskartoos Member Posts: 6
    My 2004 Passat is a total loss after being involved in any accident (fortunately nobody was hurt and I walked away with no broken bones....impressed with the way the car handled the crash). Anyway, my insurance valued my car (16000 miles) at 21,371 $ (after the deductible)....I am not sure if this is a the right price. KBB gives 21,555.
    Should I just take it ? or maybe re-negotiate with insurance ? Any advice would be greatly appreciated...thanks.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If they are offering you KBB retail price, that's about as good as it gets. If it's wholesale price they are offering, well, then you can start complaining. But KBB retail is actually very generous.

    Why dont you double check and use Edmunds' True Market Value system as well. It's on the Home Page when you click on "used cars". You'll see a tab for "appraising your vehicle".

    NOTE: make sure their offer doesn't include tax and license in that figure they gave you. You are entitled to tax and license fees over and ABOVE the value of the car. Sometimes they combine the two and try to sneak that past in essence you are not getting KBB you are getting 10% or so less than license and fees in some states equals almost 10%.
  • kartooskartoos Member Posts: 6
    thanks for the info. I just used Edmunds TMV system to for an appraisal and got a dealer retail value of $20,317. My insurance gave me an actual cash value of 20,556$, not including the tax and it looks good.

    Also I was asked to sign a power of attorney to transfer my title over to the insurance that the normal procedure ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Yes, if they total your car, they own it. If you want your car, you can buy it back from them for usually like 10-13% of value, but then you don't get tax and license.
  • spitsspits Member Posts: 1
    I was involved in an accident where a construction company truck ran a stop sign and pulled directly into my path. I hit him and while I haven't had my truck appraised yet, I'm sure it's totaled ('93 Ranger). The driver was cited by the officer making the report for running the stop sign (I had a witness to the accident).
    My question is: Do I have any legal recourse to get reimbursed for more than the blue book? The truck was my daily driver and now, through no fault of my own, I'm without it. I expect to get a meager settlement given the estimated value of the Ranger. It seems as if I should be able to pursue a settlement that will give me an opportunity to replace the vehicle without experiencing any financial penalty.
    Any inputs would be appreciated.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I'm no attorney but I believe if you read your insurance policy their only obligation is to give you Fair Market Value for your truck and no compensation for the inconvenience. That is to say, you get paid a fair price for what you lost. If you think you can find evidence that the KBB price isn't fair (by showing comparables, or other price guides), you can do that, and you can even demand arbitration and have a referee make an award.

    Of course, you can pursue civil action of any sort you wish with the trucking company but I'm not sure what you'd sue them for exactly.
  • gtthbnz600slgtthbnz600sl Member Posts: 1
    I recently, was involved in an accident where my 2001 Silverado was totaled, and I have a couple of questions about settling with my insurance co.
    First is, do you know how ADP and FIA come up with there final figure on how much a vehicle is worth. I mean I realize there are factors like mi., options etc.. and you should add or sub. for theses things, but I was told they do a market research within a 100 mi. radius of my zip and then some how, without averaging the 20 or so trucks they located, they came up with a figure. In this case it was roughly $16,250. I did my own research and came up with only 16 trucks with similar mi. and options and averaged them out to come up with a figure of $18200.
    I faxed this back to my adjuster and she then had to send it to a second outside co., (FIA)?, and they countered me with $17,250. Go figure!

    Next question is should I settle, am I asking to much, or do I have a foot to stand on. I also included a couple of the book prices in my fax, and their averages were almost identical to mine. Unfourtunatley, Edmunds was not among those, as I was not aware of the site but will be if I pursue this any further.

    I also wanted to add that it has already been since 3-18-05 since the accident accured and the seem to be drawing it out as long as they can. Any suggestions?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well you are $1,000 apart. To go to arbitration and also get your own appraisal done will cost you about $500. So the question is how hard do you wish to fight for the additional $500 you may or may not make?

    When you signed your insurance policy, you agreed to arbitration if both parties could not agree.

    Best thing you can do is keep submitting GOOD and ACCURATE data to support your claim and they might give in. If not, and they dig their heels in for that $1,000 bucks, they sort of have you over the barrel.

    I personally don't like to bleed over "the principle of the thing".

    You have to keep in mind that there is really no one exact fair price for your truck. If you are $1,000 apart, you could both be right, and legitimately so.

    If you could get another $500 out of them, I'd settle up.

    Now remember, if they total it, they owe you tax and license fees on TOP of the number they gave you. Make sure they aren't quoting you a figure that already INCLUDES the tax and license. If they did, they are in fact offering you more like $15.5K for the truck itself.
  • myusernamemyusername Member Posts: 1
    I recently acquired from my company a used 1997 luxury car with 85000 miles, one executive owner, fully loaded, perfect condition, very well maintained, all issues repaired or replaced and purchased via a silent auction. If you could find a car in such condition it would list for 2 to 3 times what I paid. It was a special type of deal offered once a year for employees only of the company and I had only owned the car two days before the incident that destroyed the automobile.

    Incident, NOT accident, this was NO accident, the OTHER person/driver, while after the left turn arrow had elapsed and the intersection was solid green, decided to attempt a left turn from the far right hand turn ONLY lane. This person had contemplated the turn, allowed one driver from the center right turn lane to come around them, forced two vehicles behind her to wait and managed to anger all drivers who could see the wild and illegal maneuvers prior to my entering the intersection and crossing my path resulting in a total loss to my vehicle. Both airbags deployed in my vehicle. Stunning and bruising me to say the least. Three witnesses rushed forward incredulous as to the other drivers actions. The other driver was issued a citation with three "causes". I'm a little surprised the police did NOT insist on testing for driving under the influence. The other driver refused to leave their car, nor allow me to exchange driver license information. It was in the morning and I didn't smell any alcohol, however, the other driver sat and chain smoked the entire time refusing to talk to anyone except the police. I am very suspicious that the other driver had been under the influence of some substance. The other driver appeared to be incoherent and muttering nonsense...

    I called while at the scene to find out if the OTHER driver had insurance. They did. I filed a report with the other driver's insurance company. I have received one call from the other driver's insurance company, I have called the other driver's insurance company three times, the other driver's insurance company has said they are waiting on the other driver's story. The other driver's insurance company stated they hadn't received the police report. I checked with the police department and they showed NO record that the report had been requested so I obtained the report and faxed it to the other driver's insurance company. It has now been 4 days and the other driver's insurance company has yet to get back to me.

    I have three solid witnesses, bruises, hurt all over and a totaled car, I anticipate the other driver's insurance company will probably give me the very short end of a short stick as a settlement. I want a car equal to or better than the car that was destroyed delivered to me ASAP. I want reimbursement for all out of pocket, lost time at work and loss of vehicle use. I live in Texas, if that makes any difference.

    Is this unreasonable? Will I have to sue them to be made "whole"? Why is all this burden on me, I didn't ask for this grossly negligent driver to destroy my vehicle and this is only an accident in the remotest meaning of the word.

    What is the best way to go?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Sorry to hear of your misfortune

    Yes, what you are demanding is unreasonable, at least in terms of what an insurance policy is required to cover. All the insurance company is obligated to pay you is the fair market value for a car comparable to yours. Of course, if you are injured, that is a separate issue, a medical claim. But all they owe you in terms of property loss is the price of a 1997 Brand X with 85,000 mile on it. You don't get out of pocket or lost time at work or paid for the time to hunt for a new car, that's not what insurance policies are for. If you would read your own insurance policy you will see the standard language.

    If you have bruises etc, you should get a check up and make them pay for all that, which I think they will do. You can settle the car part without settling the medical part if you wish. You can refuse to sign any medical waiver---they can't hold up your car money because of that. You may wish to wait a while to see if any medical issues develop.

    Consult an attorney about all this if you have doubts. I'm not attempting to give you legal advice, just telling you how insurance usually works. Your OWN insurance company should be helping you and advising you and should have told you all this already.

    Good luck with everything.
  • carbuyer25carbuyer25 Member Posts: 20
    Edmunds lists used car TMV for "Private Party" sales as well as "Dealer Retail." Would the "fair market value" as far as the insurance company is concerned be closer to the "private party" or "dealer retail" ?
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    It depends on what system/price guide they use. All insurance companies use various systems. If they offer you Kelley "Blue Book" retail, that will be higher than Edmunds dealer asking, so I'd advise you to take "blue book retail".
  • luckymomluckymom Member Posts: 5
    My son just totaled his 2nd car in 2 years. Thought I knew what I was doing with this mess from the last time. Now the blasted company has changed the rules. Last year, in order to get a fair price, I was told to get local prices from dealers, individuals, etc. Worked out fine. I was able to get an additional $4000.

    This time, I've been getting a runaround. Can't get a legitimate answer from them on HOW they've reached the price they're offering. They just faxed me a copy of something from CCC valuescope market. OK, it shows they've used ads in the paper (not our city, but others in a nearby area) they show mainly individuals, one regular Honda dealership and a buy here/pay here dealer. I tried to get the adjuster to at least look at the local cadillac dealer comps. He's insistent that they "Don't use retail prices, since no one pays that price". But the papers he sent me are exactly that- except they favor the insurance company paying less than I think is comparable. I realize I can't get them to pay full retail- but they are offering about $6000 less than the closest dealership price- on a car with 10,000 more miles.

    Also- does anyone know if GM certified means anything to them? I know it added $$ to the original cost of the car, and we hadn't even used all the factory warranty up yet. Seems like this should be figured in somewhere.

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I don't think certified adds anything, no. It's more of a sales tool than an actual add-on option.

    You may have to go to arbitration since you are so far apart on value. As for comparables, you should really be looking at private party sales and so should they, as dealer asking prices are generally quite inflated as they hope to catch an uninformed buyer.

    If you gave details of your car (model, make, year, options, condition, miles, etc.) I might be able to come up with a ballpark number and you can compare that to what you want to see if you are being realistic.
  • luckymomluckymom Member Posts: 5
    It's a 2001 Caddy SLS. about 40,000 miles (probably less- that's what we agreed upon, though)- was in near perfect condition. This car was babied- didn't even have any parking lot dings... Just had new tires and brakes put on (less than 2 weeks prior to accident). All the options are pretty much standard- I think the only things it's missing were cd changer and bose stereo.

    I think the thing that's ticking me off is they are willing to use a buy here/pay here dealer that deals in auction cars, but not a regular dealer. I understand nobody pays full retail, but really a buy here pay here dealer price is more legitimate???
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    I think if they offered me around $18.5K I'd take it and feel okay with that. I'd probably even settle for $17K but I'd start whining below that I guess.
  • rellimdrrellimdr Member Posts: 3
    The insurance company just offered us $4700 for our totaled ''95 s10 blazer. They said that if we wanted to buy it back it would be about $1200. Does that sound right? I thought buy back was around 10% of the vehicles worth.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    They can charge whatever they want I believe (not aware of any law but your state might be different than mine, so you can check with your State Insurance Bureau or call Consumer Affairs for your State or County).

    Yes, my experience is that 10%-13% is about the norm. Are you sure they aren't wrapping your deductible into this number?

    Also, they must offer you tax and license fees on top of that $4,700, but if you buy the car back they don't owe you tax and license fees.
  • rellimdrrellimdr Member Posts: 3
    The girl that hit the blazer was found totally at fault. So her insurance company is the one handleing everything.
    So as of now her ins. is paying us $4700 and they're giving us a tax waiver for up to that amount to pay for license on a replacement car.
    Here is a photo of the damage.
    I hoped it could be bought for $470 so this $1200 just seemed a little over the top.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Oh I think that car is hurt very badly. Personally I'd think twice if I were you about buying it back. You could never fix it for $1,200 certainly. Why do you even want it? Parts or something?
  • rellimdrrellimdr Member Posts: 3
    For parts, I would have no intention of fixing it.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    Well maybe you could negotiate "okay insurance company, tell you what....give me $4,000 + tax and license + my car and we have a deal" (I just picked those numbers out, you might need more...).

    Try to work a deal with them where they can give you cash + the car. Right now they are essentially (it sounds like) offering you $3,500 + the car ($2,500 = $1,200) + tax and license. Sounds like you'd settle for something like $4,700 minus say $500 bucks to get the car you want $4,200 plus the car in other words--something like that? So really you might only be $500-$700 apart here---well within the realm of negotiating. Give them your counter-offer and tell them here's a chance to clear their books on it.
  • benc1benc1 Member Posts: 1
    Last week i was sitting at a red light and was rear ended by a drunkdriver at 50mph. (actually he hit the car behind me). Neither the drunk driver nor the driver behind me had car insurance. Today i was called by the claims guy saying that the car was to be totaled. It was a 2001 VW Passat GLS with 49K miles and i live in phoenix AZ.

    My prognosis doesn't look good... what kind of market value could i expect?

  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You can go to, click on "used cars", then click on "appraise" and fill in all pertinent information. You can use the "dealer retail" as your target price. This system we use at Edmunds is called True Market Value. You should print it out for your adjuster.
  • joannesjoannes Member Posts: 3
    Hello all, I hope I am doing this forum correctly. My son got in a car accident this morning, he and passenger are fine, but it looks like the car may be totaled, so I'd like to be prepared when the adjuster comes by so we fully know our options. The car is a 2005 LS Sports Coupe Chevy Cavalier, it's 4 months old and has only 1,500 miles. I'm so confused as to what I should expect...I've read some articles which say the insurance company is supposed to find you a comparable car, but I cant' believe that's going to happen. Would it be silly for us to expect the insurance company to write us out a check for the full amount we paid? PLEASE, would someone direct me to some sites where I can learn a bit more, or explain in simple layman's terms what to expect. I greatly appreciate your time in helping us sort this whole mess out.
  • joannesjoannes Member Posts: 3
    Hello all, I hope I am doing this forum correctly now. I originally put my question as a reply. Anway, my son got in a car accident this morning, he and passenger are fine, but it looks like the car may be totaled (esp. after I read they could decide to total it if it costs 51% more than the cash value). I'd like to be prepared when the adjuster comes by next week so we fully know and understand our options. The car is a 2005 LS Sports Coupe Chevy Cavalier, it's 4 months old and has only 1,500 miles. I'm so confused as to what I should expect...I've read some articles which say the insurance company is supposed to find you a comparable car, but I cant' believe that's going to happen. Would it be silly for us to expect the insurance company to write us out a check for the full amount we paid? Because it's so new, I doubt I can find any similar cars to compare, other than brand new ones. I will talk to the car dealer Monday morning and pick his brain, but PLEASE, in the meantime, would someone direct me to some sites where I can learn a bit more, or explain in simple layman's terms what to expect. Even tho our insurance covers a rental car, we don't plan on using that option just yet--it's too easy a solution and would make life too easy--I think my 19 year old needs to understand what consequences his bad decision resulted in. I greatly appreciate your time in helping us sort this whole mess out when it comes to totaling a car. Where should I start? Thank you.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    No you can't expect to receive the entire purchase price of the car because your car is now a "used car" regardless of mileage. True, it's not very used but nonetheless your car has suffered the full one year depreciation.

    To put it another way, given the choice between your car with 1,500 miles on it and a brand new un-driven identical car with 5 miles on it, which one would a person buy if the price were the same for both? Right, the new one.

    Now then, the goal of this negotiation is to decide HOW MUCH LESS you would have to offer your car for, with its 1,500 miles, in order to get that buyer to NOT buy the new car, but to buy yours.

    As you can see, to tempt the buyer, you'd have to give them a "break" off the new car price.

    How much? Well that is arguable. Probably somewhere between what a new car sells for and what a rental car from Hertz sells for after 10,000 miles. Somewhere in there.

    Keep in mind too that if your car is totalled, the insurance company ALSO has to under law give you back your sales tax and license fees, so that's probably another 8%. So when they make their offer, make sure they haven't already blended in the tax and license, because that makes their offer sound more generous than it is.

    Hope this helps.
  • joannesjoannes Member Posts: 3
    Thank you, Mr. Shiftright, I certainly will look into what a rental car from Hertz sells for as well! That's a great idea. I pulled out my car insurance contract, and if I am reading it correctly, it sounds as though my carrier will replace a new car--same year, make, model, options--with another new car. I know this is hard to believe and almost too good to be true (see #4 but I definitely will ask about it when the adjuster comes by. Being optimistic that this may be the case, I'm also going to have my dealer do a search to see if he can find an identical car to the one my son has. If this ends up being the case, I'll definitely post and let everyone know! Thanks again.
  • samirssamirs Member Posts: 3
    2001 MDX Acura was in an accident. My fault.
    Estimate without a teardown is 14500. Expect the cost to go up a few grand after the tear down at the body shop. Only the front end was damages. The engine, tranny and everything from behind the front wheels is fine.
    I would prefer the car to be called as totalled and take the money to buy a new (used) MDX.
    Does anyone know how does Geico decide if the car was totalled?
    the used 2001 MDX are around 22000.
  • conway1conway1 Member Posts: 2
    I have a 2002 dodge ram 1500 truck. I pulled out in front of someone and they hit the front passenger corner, it knocked me to the left and up into an electrical pole. there was major front end damage. the front passenger tire was basically broke off. when the truck was placed on jack stands and the brake line was removed, you could lay the tire on its side while still attached to the truck. and minor damage down both sides, broke windshield etc... the ADP fair market value came back as 15500.00. the repair estimates came to 7700.00 before the truck was tore down. this did not call for totalling the truck out. the cost of repair eventually came to around 8500.00. i now have my truck back and its a peice of crap. it is three years old, and has only 19000 miles on it, and now it rides and sounds like a 3 year old truck with 70000 miles on it. it has creeks and rattles, and just doesnt ride the same. what options do i have? do i have a good chance at winning if i take triple AAA to court? i think they should have totalled the truck. is it possible for me to get them to still do it as totalled? sale the truck, give me the difference to make the 15500.00 (fair market value), i pay the truck off and still walk away with my 4000.00 equity for a down payment on a new one? Any advie would be appreciated.... thanks!
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    You're close to companies vary but just call them up and they'll tell you at what percentage of Fair Market Value they will impression is 60-80% of current book value.
  • Mr_ShiftrightMr_Shiftright Member Posts: 64,481
    If it was the other person's fault, you can file a claim with their insurance company for Diminution of Value; if you were at fault and your insurance company paid everything, then your contract with them makes it nearly impossible for you to file a claim for Diminution.

    About your only option if your insurance company paid for everything is to consult with an attorney and sue the insurance company for acting in bad faith, which would be a violation of their contract. IMO. I'm not an attorney, just throwing out ideas for you.
  • conway1conway1 Member Posts: 2
    The accident was my fault. Unfortunately, I was told that diminished value does not apply to Arkansas. Thanks for the advice, I will see what options I have with an attorney.
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